vrijdag 18 november 2011

W.W.W. is Wild West World

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My grandchild is crazy about 'performing' on Skype, we have a daily chat with the cam on, she shows me what she eats and the new words she has learned. Although I live quite near, she has gotten used to seeing my image on the computer; she treats me as if I were really there. I should be pleased and I am.

But then, the other day I saw a tweet passing from a worried mother, her daughter (13 yrs if I remember well) was subscribed to a Facebook page of a boy that only has girls as followers. Should that worry her? Yes, I guess it should, young girls are very vulnerable, especially when it comes to attention of boys. Loverboys find their way into girls lives though these Internet sites. Paedophiles do the same. And a nice image of someone on Facebook or twitter doesn't mean that the person is who he pretends to be. It is dangerous.

And so I realise that my granddaughter is being brought up with talking through Internet connections, it is like a normal visit without touch. She visits her granddad in Spain and her uncle in Rotterdam; it is as easy as that. She is not even 1, 5 years old and the World Wide Web is open to her.

Apart from the simple way to connect to other people the Internet has other disadvantages for young children. The information we get is not always (hardly ever) adapted to their age and comprehension. 

Some 10 years ago I was living in a small village in Spain. The children used their dad's computer to download and watch whatever they wanted.
On my son's 13th birthday one of them brought a film to watch.  After watching the first five minutes of the film I left them with the usual Cola and Chips and went into the garden. It was an action film, which I don't really approve of, but my son liked it.
I got worried when the shooting noises stopped and the boys seemed to quiet.
When I peeked in, I saw a woman showing her vagina with a bottle in it.
I turned of the television and asked the boy where he got the film from. It seemed that there was a left-over of his dad's porn film on the tape.
But he knew and that was the reason he had brought it.
We talked for a while about the images and I told them they were faked and that the women on those films were often forced

The village boys seemed very surprised; their ideas of sex were these. So I talked to the parents, the mothers were mostly just as surprised as I was, but some of the fathers laughed. So I told them that letting your children watch these images, might be the cause of ill treatment of women later in life. That children should have a different kind of sexual education.

Nowadays it's quite normal to see sex advertisements on TV and getting al kinds of sex offers on your PC; even on Twitter it seems to be common. Children might get used to that and think it's normal. But it's not!

My advice; Keep your files away from your (grand)children, put a filter on your Internet (parental control), keep an eye on their Facebook and other Internet sites and talk to them about the dangers.
Keep them young and happy, teach them to read books and play with Lego, they will develop skills they might need when growing up in this weird adult world.

And if you find me ridiculously old-fashioned, don't say I didn't warn you when they get into trouble because you, as their guardians, didn't take care.


©Gavi Mensch
Nederland BV, 18-11-2011

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